Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
When Hope&Glory PR was asked to help launch UKTV's new TV thriller Alcatraz, the agency took over a London film studio and came up with the Hotel Alcatraz stunt to get people talking about the show, leading to tons of coverage across mainstream and social media and viewers of the new show soaring...
Campaign: Hotel Alcatraz opens to promote flagship TV series
PR Team: Hope&Glory PR
Timing: March 2012
Hope&Glory PR launched new TV thriller Alcatraz for UKTV's flagship entertainment channel, Watch. The agency was asked to come up with a stunt that would generate word of mouth and get people talking about the show – creating a sense of anticipation and of a "must watch" new series being on its way.
Alcatraz was a return to the small screen for J.J. Abrams, the creator of epic TV show Lost. It revolved around the sudden reappearance in the present day of Alcatraz inmates who, it was believed hitherto, had been taken off the island in 1963, when the prison closed. However, the former-inmates are returning looking exactly as they did in 1963 and are committing terrible crimes.
We had to create awareness of the show in order to get people to make an "appointment to view" – either watching the show as it aired or on "watch again".
Our aims was to:
- Create a sense of anticipation – amongst younger men but particularly amongst sci-fi and crime thriller fans.
- Drive appointment-to-view on the day of transmission.
- Ensure that activity would create a tail of publicity to encourage those who tuned-in to spread the word amongst friends – and social media.
If we could get a core of opinion formers watching the first episode, word of mouth and recommendation would follow, so creating buzz around this first show was vital. We needed to bring Alcatraz to the UK and create an experience that the media and the public could engage with – and share – in a way that would spread.
So we decided to launch Hotel Alcatraz.
We took over a film studio in Kings Cross and turned it into a four-room (or cell) replica of Alcatraz circa 1963, complete with accurate cells, regime and guards who would play the parts of concierge and bring the experience to life.
While the hotel launched with two media preview stays, it was also open to the public for six nights. We enlisted Laterooms.com to create a traditional booking page for the hotel rooms were sold online.
Media preview nights were attended by journalists from titles including the Daily Mirror, London Evening Standard, VICE Magazine, Associated Press TV News, Time Out, Reuters and Starburst (major sci-fi blog). These all resulted in major feature pieces.
A launch party was attended by the likes of Daily Telegraph, MailOnline, Time Out, MSN, Huffington Post, Glamour, Shortlist, Nuts, Zoo and 30 others. And we created B-roll specifically for Reuters TV and ITV productions to generate online video pieces.
In all, we generated over 140 pieces of coverage – including pieces across the London Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and The Independent. We hit the major online news networks including AOL Travel, Yahoo! and MSN. And we delivered great radio with BBC Radio Five Breakfast and LBC.
On top of that, our coverage monitoring found that in addition we generated more than 170 pieces of TV coverage worldwide thanks to our piece with APTV – the launch of Hotel Alcatraz was the lead entertainment story in the US on major network news.
Across Twitter, the stunt sparked a mass of talkability. Tweetreach analysis showed there were 1,284 tweets mentioning Hotel Alcatraz, which reached a total of 2,173,779 people.
The show debuted with 500,000 viewers – making it the most-watched cable/satellite-only show of the week. What's more, our word-of-mouth strategy worked: by episode three, the audience had grown to 530,000 demonstrating we reached those who would spread the word.